Trying to imagine those destinations that should be advised by the New York Times 2018 Travel List, for sure we’d think about Italy, and probably about those classic spots like the Cinque Terre or Capri. Of course, Italy is on the newspaper’s list, but this time it shows three new places: the regions of Basilicata, Emilia-Romagna, and Trentino Alto Adige.
These three are, without any doubt, extremely fascinating lands with a marked Italian authenticity. But what the New York Times wants to focus is their “touristic virginity”, and the lack of international mass-tourism contamination. Let’s see the features that led these regions to get in the New York Times 2018 Travel List, and then to become part of the 52 most popular destinations in the world.
Of the three new destinations, certainly Basilicata can be considered the less-known, but it can also easily stand against those tourism giants that surround it, like Sicily, Sardinia and Apulia. Basilicata features, in fact, lovely beaches and charming cities and towns with centuries-old history. Among them there is Matera, also called the City of the Stones, that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is going to be the European Capital of Culture in 2019.
This region has also very ancient roots, which are reflected in majestic caves. Some of them have nowadays become spectacular Flintstones-style hotels, like for example the diffused hotel Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita, in Matera.
Moreover, 30 percent of this land is covered by protected areas, like the Parco delle Chiese Rupestri del Materano, where once again the stones express all their fascination.
If you’re lucky, you can also witness one of the several traditional rituals that represent a strong local identity. Like the archaic Carnival of Tricarico, where the inhabitants dress up as cows and bulls and, during the night, parade among the town’s alleys with their huge bells.
On top, besides the “secrecy” feeling conveyed by this unexplored region, the attention is on the low level of crime. This is an important point, considering that often tourists are scared by the crime habits associated with some areas of southern Italy.
Presented as the region of movies and fine food, Emilia-Romagna is probably known better by domestic tourists than by foreigners. The Riviera Romagnola is certainly very fascinating, but the New York Times gives its priority to other features of this land. For instance, its relationship with memorable movie stars like Federico Fellini and Dante Ferretti, or its strong culinary tradition.
In this respect, besides the many summer food festivals where to taste typical Tortellini, Prosciutto di Parma or Parmigiano, the FICO Eataly World has to be mentioned. This is the Fabbrica Italiana Contadina (Italian Farming Factory), located nearby Bologna, and it’s known as the world’s biggest Agri-food park.
If you are an Italian-food lover, you should definitely have a look for yourself: www.eatalyworld.it.
This land is mainly a flat area, and for this reason, it is the ideal destination for cycling tourism. But there’s more to it: large regional parks and reserves, and the spiritual Via Francigena give a lot of opportunities for every kind of itineraries, from trekking to horse ridings.
Ferrara, with its Renaissance charm, and Ravenna, the city of the mosaics, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These are places not to be missed by those who want to discover the culture and the rich history of this region.
Trentino Alto Adige
Südtirol. This is how the region is known abroad and, at the same time, it is the name used by locals to highlight the fact that their second official language is German. This is the land of the Dolomites, that someone defines as the best mountains in the world (and another UNESCO World Heritage Site). They offer endless possibilities for those who love skiing and mountain sports, among which the world’s biggest ski area, the Dolomiti Superski.
Trentino is also the perfect destination for families and for everyone who loves nature and wellness. The New York Times mentions some of the many wellness hotels where you can enjoy the typical Südtirol hay-bath, besides the traditional spa treatments.
Moreover, the Cavallino Bianco Family Spa Grand Hotel in Ortisei has recently been awarded as the world’s best family hotel by TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Hotel Awards!
Speaking of food and wine, this land is known for the production of apples, white wine and speck. And, of course for, its original culinary traditions. For example, every autumn there is the opportunity to take part in the Törggelen, a local custom that combines walks in nature with great meals in traditional taverns, always completed with chestnuts and wine.